Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ice dyeing - prep

I recently signed up for an ice dyeing class with Susan Purney Mark. She's a Canadian artist who has a fabulous soy wax batik DVD, highly recommended.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I have a very healthy respect for dye powder. Ice dyeing involves sprinkling dye powder on ice and letting it melt. I tried snow dyeing last year, but I used dye concentrate, so all the powder was safely suspended in liquid. I was really torn about whether to actually try ice-dyeing, but then we had a 51 degree day over a January!!!! in North East Ohio!!!!!! The stars were aligned.

First step, heavily wet an old towel to work over, so errant dye powder will land on it. A horrifying amount did.

 Second step, get everything ready so the time with open containers and dye powder is limited.

Third step, mask on and get sprinkling. I mainly have pure colors, so any mingling and interesting bits is going to be limited to where the dye powders overlap. Make sure wet spoons don't go in the dye containers!

Fourth step, each container double wrapped in clingfilm as soon as the sprinkling for that container is done.
Fifth step, mask on until all cleanup is done. An unsettling amount of dye powder got mopped up.

This was my first time ice-dyeing and here are the things I would do differently next time:
1. Use a lot more ice. My containers were flat and sat on top of the drip catching trays. Next time I would put them in a bigger container so I could really pile up the ice without it falling off the sides. I had 8 containers and I used 4 bags of ice and everything that was in my freezer's ice maker. My ice was better quality, more dense, but I don't have space to stockpile ice.
2. Use less dye powder. When I snow dyed last year I used too little dye. This time I used too much. I was using up my older powders and wasn't sure how strong they would still be. Plenty strong as it turned out. I should also have mixed my dyes before using, instead of hoping they would blend on the way down. I was a little disappointed with some of the results.
3. Along with using more ice, I would like to try using dye concentrate instead of the dye powder. I just don't feel comfortable with it. Outside was better than inside, but outside also involves breezes. Not helpful!
4. I tried a bunch of different ways to manipulate the fabric. I would check what worked and reuse those techniques, as well as trying some new ones.

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